Tag Archives: talking to the collector



James is a good friend and also a person who can identify a soundtrack that is particularly original and interesting. His knowledge of films and film music is great,  and he has an eclectic palette when it comes to both. He is a Scholar and a teacher and has written numerous articles  on the subject of both films and film music.

james p

1 Why film music, what is it about music for the movies that attracts you and excites you?


I was really aware of music in films since childhood. In 1966, Hitchcock’s VERTIGO was first shown on network television in New York and I had a clear view of the family television from my bedroom. At that time, we only had a black & white set with the rabbit ear antenna, so you had to get up and adjust it to get a decent picture. Once the credits came on and I saw the eye with the music haunted me for years. Finally, the restored version came out in colour, and I was shocked because I thought it was filmed in black & white. Television scores such as The Man From U.N.C.L.E., MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, and MANNIX along with BATMAN, STAR TREK, and Warner Bros cartoons. Walt Disney animated films and then my life changed when the James Bond craze hit. I nagged my father into taking us to see YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE because of all of the subway posters throughout the system and I’ve been hooked on John Barry ever since.
Film music took me to a new time and place and feed my imagination.



2 What was your first soundtrack and at what age did you buy this? I picked up Herrmann’s score to TAXI DRIVER and OBSESSION right after graduating high school, I had a friend who had the entire album collection of Elmer Bernstein’s Film Music Collection for sale at $5 each, so I bought them. My favourites were Herrmann’s THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR, TORN CURTAIN, Rozsa’s MADAME BOVARY, and the Alex North score VIVA ZAPATA.


This was around 1978. In 1979, my aunt gave me Jerry Goldsmith’s STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE album for Christmas and that cemented my collection mania of all things Goldsmith to this day.


3. What’s your opinion of contemporary film music as opposed to film music from the 1960s through to the late 1980s?



I prefer the orchestral scores of the 1960s, with Goldsmith being the leader and the occasionally Herrmann, but it was really the 1970s that changed the style of films and film scores.


John Williams, Steven Spielberg


However, it was John Williams who without a doubt created the return of the grand orchestral sound with STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and SUPERMAN, which to me is the greatest march in film history, even beating out the Alfred Newman from THE CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE. It was the love of these films that led me to the 1930s of the Viennese school composers such as Max Steiner, Korngold, and Franz Waxman. KING KONG, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN can beat out any score from today and Williams fans out there know it.


4 What soundtrack would you release if a record company said to you ok James you can do whatever you want?

This could be a touchy situation because I had written to several label producers about composers and certain scores, but if I had the rights from Universal, I would do the Gil Melle score to FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY, a two-part television film. The film is very haunting, very different from previous Frankenstein scores and composed in the Romantic classical style.

5. Let’s have a desert island scenario, it is just you on an island, but you are allowed 10 soundtracks, what would you choose to take? This is one of the toughest questions I will have to answer since I love everything that is orchestral and jazz within many genres, so here goes:

2. BEN-HUR – Rozsa
3. THE WILD BUNCH – Fielding
4. A TOUCH OF EVIL – Mancini
5. THE WIND AND THE LION – Goldsmith
6. THE OMEGA MAN – Grainer
7. THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR – Herrmann (Dorothy Herrmann, one of his daughters, once told me that her father considered this to be his favourite).
8. THE MISSION – Morricone
10. EL CID – Rozsa
6 before the arrival of CD’S how many soundtracks did you have on LP record? I had about 800, but lost many of them in a basement flood back in 1996.
7 Do you still play records as well as CDs, and do you do digital at all via music sites such as Spotify and I tunes?



I enjoy listening to records and CDs, as well as ones I have on cassette tapes while I am at home. When I am on the go, it’s Spotify. Great service and very easy. I don’t have Apple products so I no I-Tunes for me.

8 Have you been searching for a score that has remained elusive? It seems that the labels have been releasing my Grails and I have been a happy camper.

The most recent example is COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, Michel Colombier’s CITIZEN KANE.

9 what composer or composers would you say dominate your collection?


Without a doubt: Jerry Goldsmith in vinyl and CDs. Next would be Herrmann, Williams, and Schifrin. I also have a lot of James Horner. I want to praise the late Michael Kamen, with whom I had an email correspondence and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions and he also sent me an autographed photo that I have framed on the wall in my bedroom.

jerry goldsmith Oscar 1980

10.whats the most that you have paid for a soundtrack and which one was it?


I bought the hexagonal ANDROMEDA STRAIN album at the old Footlight Records shop in Manhattan for $125. Gil Melle designed the cover and vinyl. When he and his wife Denise came to New York in 2003, was kind enough to inscribe it and now I also have it framed and hanging on my wall.




11 Do you lament the fading out of the main theme or main title music in films nowadays?

YES! One good thing about the Marvel superhero films is that special clip at the end of the credits and you get to hear the full sweep of the score the way the composer intended. I also enjoy the opening fanfares from 20th Century Fox, Universal, and others.




Mikael Carlsson. of Movie Score Media.



Firstly. why film music? And when did first become aware of music in movies?


I became addicted to film scores in the late 80s when a good friend introduced me to the many brilliant scores of that era, primarily works by Williams and Goldsmith. Together, we started to collect. I remember going to the good old soundtrack store on 58 Dean Street in London, bringing home a dozen Horner LPs, while my friend bought an equally impressive amount of Silvestri’s… In fact, though, my father had already played his Close Encounters soundtrack for me many times before this, but it was only at the age of 15-16 I got really hooked. Before that, I had been interested mostly in classical music, exploring a lot of different composers. When I began to take serious notice of the music of John Williams, I realized his music had all the elements I was usually looking for in classical music: emotions, drama, melody, interesting harmony, colourful orchestrations.



What was your first record purchase if it was not a soundtrack what was the first film music you went out and paid for?

The first soundtrack I bought myself was the Cocoon LP, and shortly thereafter came Willow. The first film music CD I bought was John Williams compilation ’Pops in Space’.


Before the arrival of cds how many soundtracks did you have in your collection on vinyl?

Oh. I really don’t know, maybe a couple of hundreds? Is that even important? [laughs]





What was your most expensive soundtrack purchase ?

I have to say that this is a question I can’t answer because I don’t keep track of stuff like that. I do have a lot of rare soundtracks, but this is mostly because of gifts and promos sent to me in my role as a film music journalist (1993-2008) and soundtrack record producer (2006- ). Although I have thousands and thousands of soundtrack CDs, I would not consider myself an active collector anymore.


Do you still buy lp records and which do you prefer.lp.cd or download?

I never buy vinyl and only on rare occasions do I buy CDs. I have transitioned into the digital era and is still digitizing and coordinating a huge digital library of film scores for both my own professional use and for my enjoyment.

Is there anything that you are looking for that maybe you have not been able to find.

Well, this question can be answered both from a label owners’ and a film music fan’s perspective. I know that I belong to a minority, but personally I am not a huge fan of the dozens of different limited, expanded, complete, definitive, etcetera, versions that exist of many of the big film scores we all love. I tend to go back to the original album cuts that Williams and Goldsmith created, and still find them to be the most rewarding musically. Some scores – in fact most of those written by the two composers I just mentioned – are so rich that they deserve a more generous presentation than the original LPs could offer, but in general I do think that the fourth album version of the same score is craziness. I love to spend my time discovering new works and new composers instead.

What composer would you say dominates your collection?


I do have a huge lot of Williams, Goldsmith, Horner, Silvestri, Broughton, Chris Young… and many others.


What is your opinion of song scores ?
That’s a strange expression. Do you mean musicals? Or soundtrack albums that are song compilations? Well… I am not interested.


What is your opinion of the state of film music in recent years. compared to the 40.s 50.s 60.s and 70s?

The quality of film music in general is very high, but I think that there is a conformity and lack of inventiveness in a lot of mainstream scores – but there are so many exceptions from that rule too. We tend to be very negative and bemoan the current state of film music – but in fact, this is nothing new. Like any art form, or genre, there is only a small fraction of what is put out that is really noteworthy, that is original and unique. Then there is a pretty large pile of stuff that is functional and can be a great experience – but it won’t last in your memory for long. Then there is an even bigger amount of content that simply is completely uninteresting. There is also a lot of talk about the lack of melody in today’s film scores in general – and while I agree to a certain extent, in my book the lack of interesting harmony is an even bigger consideration. The predictable harmonic formula for a lot of mainstream film scores is tiresome. That’s why composers like Thomas Newman – a genius when it comes to nearly bi-tonal ideas and a sense of harmonic ambivalence – are always refreshing. And look at John Williams: still, at the age of 86, he writes harmonies that are complex and interesting, even though the melodies themselves are easy to hum. I love that!


How do you store your cds ?

In boxes.



If you were asked by a soundtrack label to choose ten soundtracks to be released for first time or re-released in a complete version what would be on your list?


Ha ha. I don’t think this question is for me running a soundtrack label myself. But one of those scores that were on my list was Back to Gaya by Michael Kamen…









I suppose the first question has to be, Why Film Music?

Film music has such a range of emotions and therefore demands lots of musical colour. I look for that kind of musicality, which is probably why I love Gustav Mahler so much. His writing, particularly the earlier symphonies, are unparalleled in their orchestral and choral structure. John Williams is his modern equivalent in my eyes (and ears!)

What was the record that you first purchased, and if it was not a soundtrack how long after buying this did you buy your first soundtrack?

It was a cassette of Geoff Love’s science fiction recordings. Most of my music education was perusing through Dad’s record collection. The RCA Classic Film Score Series and Ron Goodwin albums were my favourites. When I purchased my first CD player in 1992 then John Williams’ Hook, JFK, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade and Far & Away were the first discs I purchased.





Are you a collector that will go and buy a re release of a score because it has 1 or 2 minutes of extra music on it?


Absolutely! Sometimes the shortest cues or alternates are the most effective. Take the last few bars of Monsignor and its Meeting in Sicily cue. Stunning! Classic John Williams. I long for the film version of his Miracle of Miracles arrangement from Fiddler on the Roof to be released one day. Just the opening 30 seconds and closing 20 seconds are incredible! Another short and sweet example which is essential for a collector to treasure.


What composer or composers would you say dominate your collection?

John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Mahler, James Newton Howard, Franz Waxman, Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer, Bruce Broughton, Leonard Bernstein, Beethoven. Pretty much in that order.

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Do you find that these days with the internet and click on it buy it available that the actual collecting side of things has lost some of its excitement?

No, more accessibility can be a good thing. I enjoy some of the playlists that Apple Music or Amazon Music devise based on my listening habits.

What type of scores do you prefer, romantic, action or comedy, or is it a case of as long as it’s good you do not mind?

I tend to gravitate to the romantic scores, but love the energy of a good action score. You’re right, mood can be a deciding factor. A bright and colourful comedy score like Simon Boswell’s Jack & Sarah or Hans Zimmer’s The Holiday sits equally with Waxman’s The Philadelphia Story or Elmer Bernstein’s Ghostbusters.


Are there any scores that you have not been able to get, and you are looking for?


John du Prez’s A Chorus of Disapproval score is lovely but nobody seems to know where it is. Craig Armstrong’s full score to Love Actually needs to be made available. The 25 minute promo released shortly after the film came out doesn’t do it justice. Same can be said about Patrick Doyle’s Bridget Jones, even less of the score was released and there’s loads of music which really needs heard! Most was cut from the film or just not used in place of songs.


Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters


What is your opinion about contemporary film scores as opposed to film music from earlier decades?


I enjoy both. Some more than others, but that can be attributed to any genre of musi

How do you store your cds or lps?

Chronologically and in order of composer.

How many LPS did you have in your collection before the arrival of the CD, and how many soundtracks would you say that you have in your collection, combining both LP and CD?

I used to be very organised and kept an Excel spreadsheet of my collection, but life got in the way. Ha! I didn’t have LPs other than Dad’s and I’m not a massive fan of the LP format to be honest. I have a few thousand (some boxed) but can’t be precise. You’ve reminded me to try and log them.



What was your most recent purchase and also what has been the most expensive soundtrack that you have purchased?


I got a nice batch from Intrada with the superb Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and new Franz Waxman cd set.


Thinking back it was probably the John Williams rarity Space camp which cost me £120, also The Accidental Tourist and The Witches of Eastwick were pricey and rare back in the day. I remember paying crazy money for the Oscar promo of JNH’s My Best Friend’s Wedding back in the late 90s too. All of this is before I got married and had children!



Sergej , is a collector who has varied taste, he is a collector I have never met but talk to frequently on line, and via our conversations we have become friends, which is fortunate for me.


Why film music, and when did you first become aware of music in movies?
Somehow I think it is quite natural to end up in film music if you love movies. Much more difficult is to say exactly when I started noticing music as – because in those early days before I was even aware I would end up as a movie buff and film music collector – I was more focused on following the story and just noticing all additional stuff on second, third viewing…if the story granted that. In those early days film music for me was Lara’s theme, Mitch Miller’s River Kwai march, Ennio and his Dollars themes and such unavoidable starting points. But one day, quite by chance I stumbled into a movie (THE MOVIE for me) – called Too late the hero… the owner of the local video store told me just – „Take it, you’re gonna like it“. He couldn’t have known me that well because i was there only my second time, (having only recently acquired VCR), but having no better idea i accepted. Maybe i should not have…I would not now elaborate how the guy guessed just about everything there is to be guessed about me with this suggestion – because there was everything i loved with an angle even i did not expect. The movie had very long opening sequence and i had plenty of time to listen the music. Gerald Fried. The first time ever i watched movie 4 times in a row (it was weekend luckily) and then started to rewind the tape for music sequences, again, and again, and again…i was hooked, forever it seems. Living in Croatia, it could mean only a liftime of suffering – because there never was anything nice a music store with slightly decent film music selection…only the Internet and me getting the credit card solved this problem, or doomed me forever.


What was your first record purchase, if it was not a soundtrack what was the first soundtrack that you purchased?
The First record i bought was from my saved allowances – David Bowie and „Let’s Dance“, and now, while writing this, I recall there was „CAT PEOPLE (Putting out the Fire)“. Symbolic? Probably! The first soundtrack I bought was not on Vinyl (never did buy one on Vinyl, will explain that in the later question) was I think Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but because I was collecting all Bob Dylan albums, not specifically because of film music – but love that one as a soundtrack nevertheless (least because of „Knocking on the Heaven’s door“,“ Billy 4“ and „Turkey chase“ being favourites still).

Before the arrival of Compact Discs, how many soundtracks did you have in your collection on LP record or other recording formats?

I already answered in previous question, but here’s the explanation. Me and Vinyl. i am a backup freak and with LP you got what you got. And clumsy as I am, it was not a „beautiful friendship“, as Rick said back then in the last millenium. I had LP’s of my favourite authors (Cohen, Marley, Dylan…), but hated it when the LP get scratched and dusty, it was heart breaking – and taping them on audio cassette was not kind of backup i prefer. One other thing. For LP’s you need to have better, more expensive equipment. I got my first audio line when I was in high school, present from my parents for being successful, but aside from gramophone it had a CD player and I focused more on that.




What was your most expensive soundtrack purchase?

Perhaps year or two after the war in Croatia ended I went to visit my friend in Nuremburg and spent some days there. He took me to the World of Music shop – and i found there Bay Cities edition of THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING by Maurice Jarre….Son of God goes forth to war – oh how many times I just tried to emulate Sean Connery’s singing – it was 38 DM – nowdays with price of 19 EUR it would seem regular – but when standard CD was about 20 DM it was expensive. Needles to say I had to take it – it was one of MUST HAVE – because it ws at least decade later from the first question and now i had some list of MUST HAVE ITEMS. So it was Fried’s TOO LATE THE HERO (reasons explained already) when I found it on SAE. Price? 50+$ without S&H.




Which do you prefer, LP, CD or download?
I’m buying CD wherever there is an option (affordable one, not like in previous question). Download is temporary option for something not available otherwise (in my case that means CD), or when you have some serious doubts to get it or not.

Is there anything that you have been searching for that you have been able to find?

The moment you stop looking for something, your about to die. So I am still looking for something, not just to prolong living. Among those things i would really like to have scores from VERA CRUZ by HUGO FRIEDHOFER, THE NIGHT MOVES, by MICHAEL SMALL, OTPISANI by MILIVOJE MIĆA MARKOVIĆ….I could list here many more but however many you list, you cannot list all, so any place is good to stop.

What composers would you say dominate your collection?

Ennio Morricone. He is so prolific, and constant in quality that he is simply unavoidable. I would say he was GODSENT for this job, and we are privileged to be given the opportunity to listen to his music and even see him conducting on concertos. That said, i must say his work is still mostly available and often repressed, so it could explain his percentage within collection, but there are some which a represented with lesser numbers in my collection but are of equal importance (or even more important) Jerry Fielding, Maurice Jarre, Basil Poledouris, Carlo Rustichelli, Rachel Portman, and there are always some more to be discovered or rediscovered.




What is your opinion of the state of film music in recent years, compared to the movie scores from the 1940,s through to the late 1970’s?

Unlike the movies who could not age well – i do not think it concerns the film music much. It is quite independent of the age or movies. It is good or not. That comes from a person who prefers older movies. Once I got a reply that doomsday is sure to come since I’ve recommended a new movie. But music is timeless. You like it or not, but if you like it, you’ll keep liking it till your last breath. Even more you might like film music even if you did not saw the movie.


My friend Godwin Borg and his label Kronos Records discovered to me a plethora of beautiful scores whom I might have easily overlooked not knowing about them , by not seeing them or wasn’t interested in them for reasons beyond music, but ending up enthralled by the beautiful sounds. However it might uplift the movie for which is written, the film music has a life of its own, quite self sufficient, worthy of notice beyond all other reasons. That’s what I learned throughout my journey amidst the film music. But it may be just my excuse, excuse for being a film music junkie? Try it and risk it yourselves…



How do you store your soundtrack collection?
Perhaps the hardest of all questions. Why? Because collecting movies, books, comics, film music, sooner or later you end up craving for space (not lebensraum for heaven’s sake) in a measure that you need archaeological excavation to find a table in your room. Must be honest, I so envy to the many pictures i saw with cd”s on shelves, ordered by genre, author, label…not possible for me!!! Maybe I am chronically untidy but i use every free space to shelve something – that does not mean I’m careless – I  loved this stuff to much to afford myself to be so – but everything is mixed up according to the space available…Chaos?… It might be very easily…but it is mine….and I know how to thread within.


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Brendon Kelly.



1. Firstly. why film music? And when did first become aware of music in movies?



I have no idea why Film Music became my passion. I saw Superman in April 1979 and was blown away by that main theme! It is still my favourite score to this day.
I became obsessed by the music of John Williams and taped anything I could off the radio and TV. I would drive my parents mad by playing the Superman theme over and over again. What they failed to remember was it was my Dad who introduced me to Superman and that let to film music! I bought everything Williams and then bought Supergirl and Gremlins by Jerry Goldsmith. One day in about 1985 I decided I wanted to try some other stuff and purchased Star Trek II by James Horner….and was completely blown away and have been a massive fan ever since!


2.What was your first record purchase. If it was not a soundtrack what was the first film music you went out and paid for?

Return of the Jedi – just because it was John Williams!



3. Before the arrival of cds how many soundtracks did you have in your collection on vinyl?
Probably a hundred or so. Deeply regret binning these! However I still have Return of the Jedi, Superman and a JW score my grandparents bought me when they were on holiday in Canada- John Williams The River.




4. What was your most expensive soundtrack purchase ?
Probably the Superman Box Set and the Jerry Goldsmith 20th Century Fox Set.
Getting Ken Thorne’s Superman scores in full was a dream come true. Very underrated!

5. Do you still buy lp’s and which do you prefer.lp.cd or download?
No. Love CDs! Wish I could do more browsing like I did in the late 80s and 90s. Used to love going down Oxford Street and Dean Street looking for rarities!


6. Is there anything that you are looking for that maybe you have not been able to find?
I don’t think so although our favourite labels keep surprising me as Intrada has just done with Robin Hood!
The one holy grail for me would be a release of Volunteers….oh and the full score to Willow!


7. What composer would you say dominates your collection?
James Horner…My favourite composer by a long way. I just love his music. Then Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams. I love the phrase “the holy trinity of film composers”! And the fourth largest in my collection…the great John Barry.



What is your opinion of the state of film music in recent years, compared to the 40.s 50.s 60.s and 70s?..
I am a fan of the late 70s to mid 90s and really need to explore the golden age scores more. Although I buy less new film music than I did I do have an open mind. There has been some great stuff recently by Valezquez, Giacchino, etc but there are definitely less orchestral thematic scores than there used to be.





You did a few reviews for MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES a while ago, when was this?


I think 2001 to about 2006? Only did about 30 odd reviews. But really enjoyable.


The one thing I wanted to say about state of film music is that today is a great day to be a film music enthusiast! The labels are releasing stuff we never thought possible, concerts are on the rise, composers are going on tour and scores are being performed live to Orchestra! I never would have hoped to hear the Desert Chase or Clock tower sequence live in a concert hall – let alone synchronised